Olympic gold medalist Jim Shea Jr. pleads guilty to sexual battery
He is sentenced to 2 years probation for misdemeanor counts
Former Olympic gold medalist Jim Shea Jr. pleaded guilty last week to two class A misdemeanor counts of sexual battery stemming from allegations that he inappropriately touched a child.
Shea, who is 53 and lives in the Snyderville Basin, entered the pleas Thursday in Summit County’s 3rd District Court.
Judge Richard Mrazik sentenced Shea to two years of court-supervised probation, required him to obtain a psychosexual evaluation within 30 days and ordered him not to have contact with the victim. Mrazik also imposed a suspended sentence of 364 days in jail for each count.
In exchange for the guilty pleas, prosecutors dropped a first-degree felony count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
Shea’s attorney, Rudy Bautista, characterized the resolution of the case as “a great outcome” for his client. He said there was “overwhelming evidence” that Shea did not commit the first-degree felony, but pleading guilty to the lesser charges allows him to avoid the risk of a jury trial.
“You do the calculus and you risk a 15-years-to-life mandatory prison sentence versus walking out of there with no jail, no fine and simply court probation on two misdemeanors,” Bautista said.
Bautista said Shea admits to tapping the child on the hips and buttocks but maintains “there was no sexual agenda there,” adding that a sexual battery charge does not indicate sexual intent or gratification.
According to state law, sexual battery involves touching that “the actor knew or should have known would likely cause affront or alarm to the person touched.”
“Anyone who knows Jimmy knows that he has no sex perversion,” Bautista said. “He is a great man who is caring and loving and who is always supportive of everyone.”
Shea, who won a gold medal in skeleton during the 2002 Winter Games, is one of Park City’s most prominent former Olympians. He mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the Statehouse in 2006.
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